Stovey (In Danger’s Way, 2012) delivers another private-eye novel featuring ex-Special Ops captain Razor O’Banick.
O’Banick is a tough guy, and the California private investigator has a tendency to stumble upon dead bodies, stone-cold killers, beautiful women, angry cops and mysteries he can’t help but explore. As this latest installment opens, O’Banick finds the body of a murdered man, and Serena, the victim’s fiancee, soon shows up at the detective’s office to ask him to track down her fiance’s killer—before she’s falsely accused of murder. During his investigation, O’Banick encounters a world of corruption, ambitious elected officials, violent gangs and an assassin who directs potential clients to his website, the imaginatively named “killer.com.” Stovey has fun with his characters, but, overall, the novel feels rushed. Although the book sticks to its genre’s conventions, it also often traffics in clichés: All the women are flawlessly gorgeous and attracted to O’Banick, the private eye always right and everyone else is always wrong. The novel might have benefited from a stronger edit, as it often struggles with awkward sentence structure (“She might light-up the silver screen—creating a heartthrob to millions of men”) and grammatical errors. Many characters speak unrealistic dialogue, as when O’Banick cancels a date: “I know that you must have something serious or you wouldn’t be cancelling.” “Yes. It’s this new case I’m working on.” “Good luck with that.” The novel also has difficulty blending characterization with plot; the narrative all but stops when O’Banick spends time watching TV or thinking about his past.
A flawed hard-boiled mystery.